2008-09 Marist Basketball Preview
Chuck Martin takes over in Poughkeepsie
When the Red Foxes fell to Rider in the semifinals of the MAAC Tournament in March, fans had to have known that things were going to change. Ryan Stilphen, Ben Farmer, Spongy Benjamin and Louie McCroskey were out of eligibility, but surely Matt Brady would be alright with David Devezin and Jay Gavin back on campus. Not so fast, as Brady took the James Madison job and the next domino to fall was Gavin transferring to Virginia Commonwealth. So in comes former Memphis assistant Chuck Martin to take over the program with just one returning starter (Devezin), a few returnees who didn't see much time last season and a host of newcomers that will need time to adjust to the collegiate game. Rest assured this will be a season of transition in Poughkeepsie.
2007-08 Record: 18-14 (11-7 MAAC, t-5th)
Head coach: Chuck Martin (first season)
Assistant coaches: Paul Lee, Tyrone Weeks, Bashir Mason
Home Court: McCann Field House
PPG: David Devezin (9.7)
RPG: Ryan Schneider (2.5)
APG: Devezin (4.3)
FG%: Devezin (47.0%)
FT%: Schneider (72.1%)
3PT%: Dejaun Goodwin (42.2%)
Assist/TO ratio: Devezin (2.1)
If you've watched the Memphis Tigers play in recent years then you should be somewhat familiar with the Dribble Drive Motion offense. Guard play is vital to the success of that system, and Coach Martin will have a good one in junior point guard David Devezin. In his first season at Marist Devezin led the Red Foxes in assists and assist-to-turnover ratio, and being so important that by February he rarely left the floor. Devezin averaged thirty-four minutes per game in 07-08; the next highest was Ben Farmer with twenty-eight minutes per contest. Unfortunately for Marist however, he's one of only two proven commodities on the roster in the backcourt.
Dejuan Goodwin did have fourteen starts last season, averaging seventeen minutes per game. He'll have more opportunities to show what he can do this season. Redshirt senior Kaylen Gregory should finally get the time needed to showcase his skills, and he should be more of a penetrator in this system than spot-up shooter. Newcomers Javon Parris (Brooklyn, NY), Dorvell Carter (New York, NY) and R.J. Hall (Bloomfield, NJ) will also be important to the progression of the Red Foxes in the DDM system given their lack of backcourt depth. Parris is a junior college transfer who 11.4 points and 5.4 assists per game at Barton County CC last season. Carter, who comes from an outstanding high school program in Rice HS, is a swingman who can do a variety of things on the floor and was Second-Team All-New York City last year. Hall was a First-Team All-State selection in New Jersey last year.
Walk-ons Pat McDerby (Rockville Centre, NY), Nick Amicucci (Pleasantville, NY) and Mike Taylor (Los Angeles, CA) round out the backcourt, with Boston College transfer Daye Kaba sitting out this season per NCAA transfer rules.
The Red Foxes may lack overall bulk up front, but Coach Martin and his staff will have some skilled players to look to this season. Senior Ryan Schneider is one of two seniors on the roster and has a very good stroke from outside. The extra foot added to the three-point shot shouldn't have much of an impact on him, but look for more opportunities within the offense for Schneider to score. Sophomores Lawrence Williams and Korey Bauer, who didn't play much last season, will look to earn more minutes this season with the graduation of mainstays Stilphen and Benjamin. Freshman Alex Vouyoukas (Athens, Greece) will also have the opportunity to earn some minutes from the beginning of the season.
So what can you expect from Marist this season? First off, solid guard play from Devezin. Secondly, Marist will be a team that will look to push the tempo in hopes of covering up their lack of interior depth. But if they can play defense like they did last season (the best in the MAAC), Marist can grab a few wins on that end of the floor. Also, the MAAC stands to be every bit as tough as it was last season, when six teams finished within two games of each other at the top of the standings. Look for this to be a year of transition for the program, both in their style of play and the building of a foundation by Coach Martin and his staff.
Team Stats (conference ranking in parentheses)
PPG: 69.9 (5th)
PPG allowed: 68.6 (1st)
FG%: 44.8% (3rd)
FG% defense: 41.8% (1st)
3PT%: 38.0 (4th)
3PT% defense: 33.4% (1st)
FT%: 64.7% (9th)
Rebounding margin: + 1.2 (3rd)
Assist/TO ratio: 0.85 (6th)